Ganymede’s North Pole

On 26 December, 2019, the Juno spacecraft’s orbit around Jupiter brought it near the north pole of the ninth-largest object in the solar system, the moon Ganymede. The spacecraft’s Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument took the first infrared images of the massive moon’s north pole.

Ganymede only moon in the solar system that is larger than the planet Mercury. It’s mostly water ice. It is also the only moon in the solar system with its own magnetic field. On Earth, the magnetic field provides a pathway for plasma (charged particles from the Sun) to enter our atmosphere and create aurora. Ganymede has no atmosphere to impede the progress of those charged particle, so the surface at its poles is constantly being bombarded by plasma from Jupiter’s gigantic magnetosphere. The bombardment has a dramatic effect on Ganymede’s ice.

The ice near both poles of the moon is amorphous. This is cause by the impact of the plasma on the surface. That pounding prevents the ice from having a crystalline structure.

Image Credit: NASA/ JPL / SWRI / ASI / INAF

Smog on Jupiter?

The Juno spacecraft took this image of Jupiter’s northern latitudes during a close approach 17 February, 2020. Two long, thin bands run through the center of the image from top to bottom. Juno has observed these streaks since its first close pass over Jupiter in 2016. They are layers of haze particles floating above the cloud. We’re unsure of what these hazes are made of, or how they form. (There are no known SUVs on Jupiter.) There’s been speculation that jet streams in the planet’s atmospher may influence the formation of the hazes.

Image Credit: NASA / JPL / SwRI / MSSS
image processing by Gerald Eichstädt

Jupiter’s Magnetic Field

This animation illustrates Jupiter’s magnetic field at a single moment in time. The Great Blue Spot, an-invisible-to-the-eye concentration of magnetic field near the equator, stands out as a particularly strong feature. The gray lines (called field lines) show the field’s direction in space, and the depth of the color on the planet’s surface corresponds to the strength of the magnetic field. Dark red and dark blue correspond to strong positive and strong negative fields, respectively).

Video Credit: NASA

So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

This sequence of images was taken on 29 October as the Juno spacecraft performed its 16th close flyby of Jupiter. Juno was between 18,400 and 51,000 km the planet’s cloud tops. A cloud in the shape of a dolphin appears to be swimming through the cloud bands along the South South Temperate Belt.

Image Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech /SwRI / MSSS / Brian Swift / Seán Doran

Arthur Dent was unavailable for comment.

Clouds on Jupiter

This color-enhanced image was taken by the Juno spacecraft as it made its 16th close flyby of Jupiter. It was taken about 7,000 km above the cloud tops at a latitude around 40° N. The picture shows several bright-white “pop-up” clouds as well as an anticyclonic storm, known as a white oval.

Image Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran

A Southern View of Jupiter

This extraordinary view of Jupiter was captured the Juno spacecraft as it moved away form the planet after twelfth close flyby..

Seeing Jupiter from the this far south causes the Great Red Spot to appear as if it is in Jupter’s north. It isn’t, but this new perspective demonstrates how different our view is when we step off the Earth and discover the three-dimensional nature of the Universe.

Image Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstäd / Seán Doran

The Twilight Zone

The JunoCam took this color-enhanced image during the Juno spacecraft’s eleventh orbit of Jupiter in early February. To make features more visible near Jupiter’s terminator—the twilight zone where day meets night—the camera was set to take multiple photos at different exposures. This image had the right light balance to reveal features in Jupiter’s twilight, but the much brighter day side is overexposed.

Image Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt

The Great Red Spot Plunge

Here is NASA’s description of this video: This animation takes the viewer on a simulated flight into, and then out of, Jupiter’s upper atmosphere at the location of the Great Red Spot. It was created by combining an image from the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno spacecraft with a computer-generated animation. The perspective begins about 2,000 miles (3,000 kilometers) above the cloud tops of the planet’s southern hemisphere. The bar at far left indicates altitude during the quick descent; a second gauge next to that depicts the dramatic increase in temperature that occurs as the perspective dives deeper down. The clouds turn crimson as the perspective passes through the Great Red Spot. Finally, the view ascends out of the spot.

Video Credit: NASA

The Jovan Ammonia Blues

This swirling storm on Jupiter spanned about 30,000 km when it was photographed by the Juno spacecraft last July, making it just about as wide as planet Earth. The disturbance rotated counter-clockwise and showed a cloud pattern that includes light-colored updrafts thought to be composed predominantly of ammonia ice. These light clouds were top deck of the system casting discernable shadows toward the right of the picture.

Image Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS
Processing: Gerald Eichstädt & Seán Doran

Another Look at the Giant Red Spot

This Jovian image was processed from data taken by the JunoCam instrument aboard the Juno spacecraft by amateur scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran. North is to the left of the image. The spacecraft was a bit more than 16,500 km from the tops of the Jupiter’s clouds when the image was taken at 23:12 UTC on 10 July, 2017, during its seventh close flyby.

Image Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran

The Giant Red Spot in True Color

This true color image of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot was created by amateur scientist Björn Jónsson using data from the JunoCam imager aboard the Juno spacecraft. It’s a natural color rendition of what the Great Red Spot and surrounding areas would look like to the human eye from Juno’s point of view at 1410 UTC on 10 July, 2017, during its seventh close approach to the planet. The spacecraft was a bit less than 14,000 km above the cloud tops when the image was taken. The active wind zones in and around the Great Red Spot are clearly visible.

Image Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Björn Jónsson